The controversial ex-Magpies striker will play alongside one of the club’s greats from the 2000s at the Turkish Super Lig leaders.

Former Newcastle United, West Ham and Chelsea striker Demba Ba has returned to the Turkish top flight by linking up with current table toppers Istanbul Basaksehir.

Initially reported as a loan deal from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, the Chinese Super League club confirmed in a statement quoted on Shine that the 33-year-old’s contract was cancelled for personal reasons.

“Ba is loved by his teammates and fans for his modesty, great personality and loyalty,” Shenhua’s statement said, according to the Chinese outlet. “The club thank Ba for his contribution during the past few seasons and wish him all the best in future career and life.”

Shenhua also put up a Twitter post which implied that Ba was on his way out of the club on a permanent basis:

Though Ba was well liked at St James’ Park, scoring 29 goals in 51 Premier League starts, fan site The Mag spoke of how he seemingly insisted on a £7.5million release clause in his Newcastle contract after leaving West Ham – itself on a free after insisting on a relegation release clause with the Hammers.

Indeed, the former Senegal international upped sticks for Chelsea 18 months later, and since then he has made numerous moves and turned out for several clubs – hence why some fans may baulk at Shenhua’s mention of “loyalty”.

That said, Istanbul are in serious contention for the Turkish Super Lig title, sitting six points clear at the top of the table, so he could potentially get his hands on only his third trophy of his career after the 2016-17 Turkish title with Besiktas and the Europa League with Chelsea (Transfermarkt).

The move will also see Ba, a former Newcastle ace, link up with another ex-Magpies great of recent times in Emre Belozoglu, who played for the club between 2005 and 2008, making 80 appearances, and is now 38 years of age.

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